Star Trek: Discovery 3.02 Far From Home
Serving as the flipside to season three's soft reboot of Star Trek: Discovery, Far From Home follows the crew of the Discovery as they travel through the wormhole into the future after the events of the season two finale Such Sweet, Sweet Sorrow. While the season three opener followed the path of Michael Burnham into the dystopian future, she is largely absent from this week's proceedings.
Far From Home didn't quite have the emotional intensity of That Hope is You, but there was still plenty to enjoy. In many ways, this felt more like the Star Trek: Discovery we've been watching for the last three years. The blend of humour, action and fun character drama was all present; Mary Wiseman remains as loveable as ever as Tilly, Doug Jones continued to bring the gravitas to the role of Saru, though with a little less serenity after the events of season two. Michelle Yeoh is clearly continuing to have fun as Georgiou. And there was some nice little character beats from the supporting players too. Tig Notaro as Reno was one of the best things about season two and she continued have plenty of witty one liners and repertoire with Anthony Rapp's Stamets. Wilson Cruz delivered a confident, loving Culber - the controversy of his death and resurrection now beyond him. Oh, and I love David Benjamin Tomlinson's Linus.
There was a touch of Star Trek: Voyager's Timeless in Discovery's crash landing on the ice planet, offering a far more action-packed affair after the introspective nature of last week's episode. The parasitic ice was a terrific piece of tension-generating tension as it began to infest the ship's hull. The idea of death coming with night fall is not a new sci-fi idea but worked well to raise the stakes going into the final act. Reno and Stamet's double act added some much needed levity, before his wounds threatened to overcome him. For all the hostility, they make a great team and there wasn't enough of them together in season two. I hope this year recitifies that.
Saru and Tilly's journey to the run down mining settlement allowed director Olatunde Osunsanmi to make even more use of the gourgeous Iceland location we saw last week. I'm not sure if this is the same planet - Hima - we first saw last week, but there was plenty of beauty on display. The episode also leaned heavily into the western vibe, perhaps reflecting the rugged wilderness of the post-Burn galaxy, right down to the saloon doors and the arrival of Jake Weber evil cowboy smuggler Zaher. Much of the final act played out like a saloon shoot out, with the timely arrival of Georgiou proving to be one of the episode's highlights. Michelle Yeoh really knows how to steal a scene!
Again, given the high stakes at play, the encounter with Zaher felt relatively low key. Weber conveyed the right level of ruthless smugness, without coming across as hammy and there was real tension too as Tilly and Saru found themselves trying to bargain with a murderer. In a short space of time, Jonathan Koensgen made Starfleet wannabe Kal an endearing character, making his death all the more harrowing. The final fight, complete with Tilly smashing a bottle over Zaher's head, was great, with Georgiou proving once more while she is the ultimate badass and Saru showing off his new fearless abilities with a stunning attack on one of the bad guys. The episode left the room open for Zaher to exact revenge, but I would prefer if this was it. He was an effective one-shot villain, but I don't feel his return would bring anything new and exciting to the show.
I have to admit - as joyful as the reunion was - I found Michael's appearance at the end a little obvious. Would it have been better to extend the time - show Michael's year-long journey - before reuniting with her crew? At the same time, we've only got thirteen episodes this season, so storytelling is at a premium and there is still so much potential to come, not least the mystery of the Burn. And what us up with Detmer? I was worried for a moment that she might be a casualty of the crash landing and I'm concerned that something terrible is still going to happen to her.
Far From Home was an enjoyable episode that didn't quite feel as innovative as its predecessor, but still had plenty of moments to enjoy. If nothing else, it was a chance to revisit these characters and see them in action before the reunion with Michael and a delve into the mysteries of the post-Burn future. It was the other half of the show's opening soft reboot and now the fun can really start.